While I’m a fan of men in tweed jackets virtually anywhere I see them, as a woman I always felt that wearing tweed in the city was just too rustic a look for me. I indulged my attraction to them once or twice – I remember picking up a brown and cream herringbone one at the flea market about ten years ago, but it just sat there in my closet untouched until I admitted defeat and gave it away. Now that I live in the countryside however, I am free to move full steam ahead in my enthusiasm for tweed. For my 40th birthday last year, Christopher gave me a custom-made hacking jacking. Slightly intimidated by the expense, I went fully classic – a black and grey Harris tweed in a slightly feminized version of a traditionally masculine style. She is a thing of beauty – my jacket, that is – beautiful shape, perfect fit, well-considered details. But I am now craving something less conventional to add to the mix – maybe an oversized mens-style jacket with the sleeves rolled up? Or perhaps something even more fitted and feminine and stylised? When I’m on the farm I’d like something roomy enough that I can throw on over a sweater and drive in comfortably. But then when I join my husband to go on the occasional shooting weekend, I love the thought of channelling the more retro girly shapes from the 1930’s – matching jacket and skirt with maybe a bit of a hairstyle and some makeup. You get the look, right? As I want something authentic and non-fashion-y I’m determined to find something at a vintage shop. We’ll see what I come up with.
The endless parade of street style looks isn’t even over yet (Paris is still to come!), but I’m going to jump the gun here and crown model Emma Oak the winner. I love everything about this look – the combination of rich burgundy and red are so unexpected but work so well; and the overt sexiness of the unbuttoned shirt combined with the nerdiness of the flared high-water trouser and the school girl charm of the penny loafers; the anonymous tote bag that says I’m cool enough that I don’t have to carry a brand new Céline bag...
Hi there! It’s been a while. The truth is, I thought I was done with blogging. Between the long term commitment of writing books and the instant gratification of Instagram, I felt it was extraneous to keep going with the in-between of maintaining a blog. I also felt I’d evolved beyond the look, feel and function of my starter blog, and while there was maybe something charming about the low tech aspect of it, I was left craving a more effective way to communicate with you.
But after a year of freedom from my blog commitment, I missed it. In retrospect I realized that my best ideas had actually come from the discipline of sitting down a few times a week to clarify and express what was going on in my creative mind. Blogging helped me maintain focus and track the progression of thoughts and inspirations. In fact, my next book, about what I’ve learned from living on a farm, was sold to Penguin based on the collection of my blog posts on that subject. I’m always preaching about the importance of gathering visuals and displaying them together so you can actually see who you are aesthetically, and it turns out that my blog is simply that – an inspiration board of ideas and experiences and images that capture my attention. ..
This past weekend I returned home from a busy month filled with travel. Waiting for me on the kitchen table upon my arrival was the November J.Crew style guide with Christopher and Coco on the cover! I just couldn’t believe it. I knew they’d be in it, and that most of the pictures had been shot at the farm, but on the cover? Holy shit.
Here’s how it happened: Last June, Jenna Lyons – who is my friend as well as J. Crew president and creative director – wrote to me saying how much she loved my instagrams of life on our farm, and she wanted to know if J.Crew could shoot their autumn catalogue here. There would be lots of models, and she also hoped to casually include my family and me in a few shots. Sounded good to me. But then I got the dates. Zach and I would be in New York – I had a week full of publisher’s meetings lined up in the hope of selling my book, and Zach was signed up for camp. He had been looking forward to this time in our home city for months. I thought for just a minute and then decided I wouldn’t torture either one of us with a tough decision. We had made a commitment. We were going. I couldn’t imagine asking Zach to stay home for a photo shoot. So off we went. And what a time we had. ..
Gucci Westman is a rockstar. As the Creative Director of Revlon, as Grace Coddington’s first choice for making up the girls in Vogue, and for Cameron Diaz’s go-to girl for red carpet glamour, Gucci is one of the most talented and well-know makeup artists in the world. But that’s not it. She is the mother of two gorgeous children, and she’s married to super handsome David Neville, co-designer of Rag and Bone. She also has great style. She mostly wears slightly tomboy classics like Olatz piped silk shirts, Rag and Bone jeans and t’s, and Isabel Marant tweed jackets. Occasionally she branches out with a Celine or Balenciaga statement piece while still staying true to her own look. I also love Gucci’s jewellery – a gold link necklace and gold watch by Cartier, a monogrammed signet ring, and her diamond wedding bands. Simple, classic chic. ..
We all have this idea that fashion is ephemeral. And in some regards it absolutely is. We buy something that catches our eye in a magazine, in a store, on style.com, we wear it a few times, and then it goes into fashion purgatory never to be worn again. Or never to be worn until it gains some vintage cred or stages a comeback a decade later.
But when I was working at Barneys I knew I would be spending a large proportion of my disposable income on clothes, and I wanted to be smart about it. If I was going to splurge, it had to be on things I would wear for a long time, not just a season. And so I trained my eyes to look for classic pieces. And suddenly I saw them everywhere – a perfect army green safari jacket at Givenchy, a navy crew neck sweater at Celine, a black wool a-line skirt at Alaia, brown leather jodhpur boots at Balenciaga. Eighteen months later, I still wear nearly every single piece of clothing I bought during that time, despite living on a farm in the middle of the English countryside.
In fact, this method of buying great quality classic pieces made by the world’s best designers has stuck with me. When I look at runway shows, or fashion magazines, or racks of clothes in boutiques now, my eye starts scanning right away for the timeless pieces in the collection. I tend to skip right over the prints and the ruffles, and look for that perfectly simple piece that will last a lifetime.
Audrey Hepburn consistently surprises me. Just when I think I’ve seen every chic photo of her there is to see, more arise. I first found the amazing picture of her on the horse, and as I widened my search I found the ones with her pet fawn Pippin, with her beloved puppy Mr Famous, and many more. Being on the farm, I sometimes feel that I live in a zoo – I’ll be doing dishes at the kitchen sink with one of the kittens on the counter next to me, the dog laying at my feet, the chickens staring at me from the outdoor dining table, my daughter riding by on a horse and the donkeys braying from the stables across the driveway. So these pictures of Audrey have special meaning to me as they contain two of the things I love most: style and animals.
At the moment I’ve been fixated on looking at fashion thru the eyes of artists. I love the timeless quality clothes take on when they are painted, regardless of how trendy they are in real life. Anh Duong is a particularly compelling painter of clothes. Because she is a girl who loves fashion in her own life, there is a particularly personal and complex relationship between herself and the way she dresses herself in her paintings. They are not only engaging to see when first painted, but as with some of the older ones shown below, they will become even more interesting and iconic over time. ..
You know how there are some people you come across in life that always seem like they are having the best time? Aleks Woroniecka is one of those people. She is a friend of a friend, and maybe it’s because I really only see her at parties that she is always so cheerful and enthusiastic, but I suspect she’s like this all the time. She’s smiling, she’s affectionate, and she’s usually the first to dance and the last to go home...